High☆Speed! 2 (BIG SPOILER) Chapter 8
By the time he had finished practicing for the day, he had completely grasped the sensation and such things as breaking his balance didn’t happen anymore.
Short of breath, he goes home with Makkou. When he does, as if he had been seen, the telephone rang. It’s from Makoto’s mother. She says that Makoto had gone out and hasn’t come home yet. After informing her that he didn’t come to the Swimming Club, he put down the receiver.
The scarlet of the setting sun shining in through the window quietly stretches into the house. Feeling something like a strange trepidation from that red color, Haruka rushed outside like he was being hurried.
Coming out the first torii, he looks down. Makoto’s bicycle is left at the bottom of the stone steps. He hasn’t gone far. Haruka climbed up to the second torii that’s at the very top of the stone steps and went out into the shrine. Misagozaki Shrine’s grounds weren’t wide enough to survey, just a small shrine stood there, while seeming like it’s about to reach the end of its days.
Going round the back just to be sure, he looks down at the sea from the gap between the Japanese zelkova and the maple. There was nothing other than the waves hitting the rocks and breaking with a flash of white.
The sun sinking in the west, it was already trying to fall into the horizon. He got the feeling that if it gets dark, it’ll turn into trouble. The dusk makes people uneasy. Thinking that he has to look for him before it becomes serious, Haruka ran down the stone steps.
When he went into the port, there were several white masts, each casting long shadows while quietly swaying. He runs while making sure to peer into every single boat, every so often there were just seabirds resting their wings, but there wasn’t a single human figure.
Like that, he runs out of the port chasing his own shadow and goes out to the breakwater. The complicatedly tangled tetrapod was being washed by the waves while half sinking itself into the sea. Once in a while, the anglers take a seat on it, but no one’s there today. Going until the edge of the levee, after going in a circle around the small lighthouse that will cast light before long, he retraced his steps to the concrete straight road.
Crossing the pier, by the time he came out onto the road alongside the coast, the streetlights were starting to light up one by one. It’s a small port town, but if one person felt like hiding, it makes them realize that anything can happen. Or, did he leave town already……
As he’s running on the road alongside the coast, he could see a silhouette at the very edge of the beach where the streetlights didn’t reach. The lighthouse’s light illuminates that silhouette for just an instant.
Going down to the beach right after shouting, Haruka ran with full strength. It’s the beach he always runs on with Makkou. He’s supposed to have gotten used to running on it, but he’s tripped up. His balance breaks. He can’t run as fast as he wants. It’s frustrating. It’s irritating. Only his feelings become rash.
The second flash of light illuminates Makoto again. He stood still, facing the sea. The rising tide was already trying to reach his feet.
He shouts once more. He runs while shouting. Makoto reacted at last. He turns just his neck towards Haruka.
It was a dull voice. Haruka reaches him at last, breathing roughly.
“Haahaa, I looked for you.”
His eyes remaining hollow, Makoto shows a smile.
“You found me unexpectedly fast.”
Could he have been intending to play hide-and-seek or something? He wants that to be it, he thinks. He wants something ridiculous like that to be it, he thinks.
“Haahaa, what were you doing. With something like this.”
“……I thought of going to a place where Haru isn’t.”
Haruka’s heart leapt. Where was he trying to go. What was he trying to do. What would’ve happened if he were a little slower.
Asking that was the most he could do.
“Will I be alright even if Haru isn’t here? …..I wanted to make sure of that.”
Raising his eyebrows, he shows a lonely smile. Makoto was fighting all along. He was suffering, all along. In a place where Haruka’s thoughts couldn’t possibly reach……
“Would Haru be alright even if I weren’t here?”
He can’t lie to him anymore. He can’t deceive him. He can’t trick him. Neither Makoto, nor Haruka himself.
“–– I wouldn’t have looked for you if I were.”
Makoto laughs. He was the usual Makoto. The amiable smile with up-slanting eyebrows. He came back to being the usual Makoto. To Haruka’s side––, he came back for him.
“Don’t worry me so much.”
For now, just that is enough, he thought. If Makoto’s here, just that is enough.
“Yeah, sorry. Haru.”
Quickly getting away from the surging waves, Makoto starts walking. Haruka walks side by side with Makoto. For just a moment, the lighthouse’s light illuminated the two footprints remaining on the dusk coast.